A Special Session awaits us but it is still unclear as to when. Speculation had been that it could be as early as today, Thursday, however, that is not happening. Perhaps tomorrow? Very possible.
To understand what is now happening one needs to go back more than a week prior to last Sunday nights announcement by the Governor and Legislature Leadership of a budget deal .
During that period, although the respective Budget Conference Committees did not have targets (the total amount of money they are allowed to each appropriate) they did review and debate various details of their respective bills. In most cases they even adopted certain same or similar provisions in the bills that did not have money attached to them. While much of this work took place in public meetings, a tremendous amount took place in private meetings usually between respective House and Senate Chairs. The most important deficiency of those discussions, whether in public or private, is that they could not appropriate money until targets had been assigned. Those targets could not be set until the bigger deal had been completed by the Governor and Legislative leadership. Once the big deal came on Sunday night, targets were assigned and the respective conference committees then got on with completing their respective important detail.
Since Sunday, the intensity of that work has increased dramatically. At times when the respective committees have been unable to come to a conclusion on certain details, Legislative Leadership and the Governor have stepped in to settle those items.
Yesterday, Wednesday, a number of House and Senate budget committees held hearings in which their respective and now agreed upon details were publicly presented for comment from other legislators and the public. Today serves-up another series of such meetings.
Most assume that that Special Session will be called by the Governor for tomorrow, Friday. The fear of many Capitol participants is that if the Special Session does not take place until next week disagreements on budget items could be reignited leading us into days, perhaps weeks, of more debate. The danger of that is it could take us through June and close to July 1st when the new fiscal year begins. To avoid any risk of a State shut-down the sooner the Special Session takes place and completes a budget the safer we are all from the highly undesirable outcome of a shut down.
Watch for an announcement about the date of the Special Session by the Governor today, perhaps even this morning.